Hey, remember the Emmys last year when five different reality show hosts tackled the duties of hosting the show? Yeah, me either. Dismal ratings required a change of course, and this year the Emmys were…dare I say it…entertaining! Thanks in large part to Neil Patrick Harris’s impeccable charm and wit, the 2009 Emmy Awards were enjoyable start to finish.
A dapper Neil Patrick Harris (let’s call him NPH for brevity’s sake) was the perfect host. He started off the show with a musical number that was not awful, and kept the show going at a steady clip throughout the night. His performance garnered accolades from Ricky Gervais and John Stewart, along with millions of us watching at home. A few highlights from the evening:
Awards were presented in categories. A genre had all its awards given out before moving on to the next. Comedy, Drama, Miniseries, Reality and Variety were all represented. The show producers definitely pushed a comedic theme this year. Hilarious pre-taped clips of nominees showed them giving advice or answering a question.
NPH introduced “colorful commentator” John Hodgman, who is the guy who talks about the winners as they approach the stage. Hodgman deadpanned he didn’t know what he was talking about and did not intend on checking facts. Instead of the standard delivery, he threw out obscure facts and trivia about the winners. It was a fresh idea, and it kept me riveted to the show for the duration.
Jimmy Fallon provided comic relief by trying to rouse the crowd while wearing one of those ridiculous Auto-Tuner headsets that pop stars use during performances. He pretended to fall and injure himself, and his writhing around moaning through the Auto-Tuner was hilarious.
This year’s memorial to industry heavyweights who have passed away was especially moving, given the untimely recent deaths of Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Patrick Swayze, to name a few. Sarah McLachlan sang her haunting ballad “I Will Remember You.” during the tribute.
My favorite moment of the evening by far was a most welcome surprise. When the Ernst and Young executives came out to explain the voting process, the feed was “taken over” by Dr. Horrible, a web character NPH plays (see video below). He promised the demise of television thanks to the internet and streaming shows. Subtle jabs were taken at the whole process of watching television on a computer, as his feed kept pausing to “buffer”. Nathan Fillion also made a cameo in the segment.
Jon Cryer won outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for Two and a Half Men over Kevin Dillon (Entourage), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), Rainn Wilson (The Office), Jack Mcbrayer (30 Rock), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock). Seriously? Jon Cryer is the best of this bunch? I will admit his acceptance speech was damn funny, though.
Heavily favored best actress in a comedy Tina Fey (30 Rock) was also beat out by Toni Collette (The United States of Tara), and Kristin Chenoweth nearly had a meltdown when she won best supporting actress in a comedy for Pushing Daisies (but she looked adorable doing so.)
The rest of the awards revealed few surprises, with repeat awards going to The Amazing Race, The Daily Show, Glenn Close (Damages), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), and Jeff Probst (Survivor). Best comedy winner 30 Rock and best drama Mad Men were also repeats from last year.
Despite the predictability of the actual awards, the show was lively, original, and funny. It has raised the bar on all future awards shows. Game on.
A complete list of awards presented can be found on the Emmy home page.